New Houston High School boys’ basketball coach Rob Coffey works on an agility drill with players Friday morning inside Hiett Gymnasium.

Three years ago, Rob Coffey was working in the retail business world. He decided it was time to pursue another career.

“I got to a point in my life where it was now or never,” he said

Coffey returned to school and earned his teaching degree. In 2012, he accepted his first job as a Houston High School business teacher and middle school boys’ basketball coach. Less than a year later, he was promoted to the leader of the hoops program at Houston.

Coffey’s rapid climb up the ladder hit its climax last Tuesday night when the school board named him the new HHS boys’ basketball coach. He replaces Richard Rose, who resigned after one season with the Tigers and later accepted the same position at Richland High School.

“I feel like they’ve put a lot of faith in me,” Coffey said, “and I feel that I’m up to the task.”

A 2000 Nixa High School graduate, Coffey spent seven years in retail and business before following his dream to become a teacher and coach. When he couldn’t find a position near his hometown, he expanded his search and discovered Houston. Although he wasn’t familiar with the community, he leaned on the experience of his high school principal, Mark Overstreet, a former HHS football coach.

Coffey’s first time leading a basketball program didn’t produce the win-loss record he wanted. But those who had followed the middle school program said they saw a difference.

“We were struggling, and I was taking it personal,” Coffey said. “But I had a lot of parents telling me the kids were making a lot of improvement.”

When the middle school season ended, Coffey spent time around Rose and the varsity program. He often sat on the first row behind the bench.

“I tried to stay involved and pick up as many things as I could,” he said. “I learn something every day, and I want to keep learning.”

The Tigers’ seventh coach in eight seasons, Coffey hopes to bring stability to a carousel of coaches at Houston. Only Brent Hall, who accepted the position on an interim basis to help out the district, has stayed more than one season the past seven years.

Coffey said among his priorities will be getting more students to play basketball and developing the program –– which last won a conference title in 1989 and district championship in 1984 –– into a consistent winner. He inherits a team eligible to return four starters after going 6-19 last year.

“I want them to learn how to win, and that’s a mentality change that needs to take place,” Coffey said. “But I’m more concerned with what they learn from me as a person than what they learn from me playing basketball.”

Rob Coffey is the seventh HHS boys’ basketball coach in eight years. Here are his predecessors:

  • Aaron Griffin (2005-’07)
  • Wayne Jessen (2007-’08)
  • Brent Hall (2008-’10)
  • Dustin Kirkman (2010-’11)
  • Tom Brown (2011-’12)
  • Richard Rose (2012-’13)

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply Cancel reply